Children, Teens, Adults
This game helps participants to understand how important it is to step our of our comfort zones in order to grow. You can use the story of Abraham (Abram at the time) leaving his country and his family and everything he knew as a reinforcement of the lesson.
o Genesis 12:1-9
o Rope (about 30 feet or more) or a garden hose
o Balls (about 5 – alternatively, you can just wad up scrap pieces of paper)
o Laundry basket or trash can
o Tie the rope or garden hose into a loop.
o Use the rope or garden hose to make a small circle on the ground (about 1 ft – 1 ½ ft in diameter).
o Coil the excess rope or garden hose on top of this circle so that you have only one circle.
o Set up the trashcan or laundry basket about 20 ft away from the circle (further if you want to increase the difficulty).
o Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “How many of you know what a comfort zone is?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “A comfort zone is a place or situation where you feel safe, comfortable.”
- “When you are in your comfort zone, you don’t take risks.”
- “Those are uncomfortable, so they can’t be in the zone.”
- “In your comfort zone, there is no progress or growth, because progress and growth only occur when you take risks and step out of your comfort zone.”
- “God asked Abraham (Abram at the time) to leave his comfort zone.” (Have a volunteer read Genesis 12:1-9.)
- “Abraham had to leave everything that he knew (his family, his friends, his country, his home….) in order to follow God’s leading into a strange country.”
- “The trip would take months, and it would be full of risk to Abraham, his wife, his nephew, Lot, and their servants.”
- “They would face dangers from animals, thieves, foreign kings, fatigue, potential starvation and other threats.”
- “But Abraham could not experience God’s blessing from inside his comfort zone in his home in Haran.”
- “To experience God’s blessing, Abraham had to take a risk.”
- “Let me show you a demonstration that will help you understand comfort zones better.”
- “I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Select a volunteer from the group.)
- “Let’s pretend that this is your comfort zone.” (Position volunteer inside the coil of ropes or garden hose.)
- “Don’t you feel all comfy in there?”
- “Now, let’s pretend that you have a goal that you want to achieve.”
- “Your goal is to get five (or more if you like) shots in a row in that basket/trash can.”
- “You can take shots only from inside your comfort zone this first time.”
- “How many shots do you think you will make?” (Listen to response, and share it with the audience if it was too quiet for them to hear.)
- “Well, let’s try. Take your shots.” (Allow volunteer to take all his/her shots. Share the score with the audience.)
- “Not so good.”
- (Ask volunteer…) “What do you think would help you to be more successful?” (Listen to response, and shear it with the audience if it was too quiet for them to hear. If the volunteer doesn’t mention stepping out of their comfort zone, prompt them.)
- “Let’s try that.” (Allow volunteer to take one step, as big as they can, out of their comfort zone.)
- “But wait. That wasn’t very scary. Stepping out of your comfort zone has to have some risk involved.”
- “Otherwise, every place on earth would be your comfort zone.”
“Let’s make it more scary.”
- “Can I get another volunteer?” (Select another volunteer. Make him (or her) stand five feet away from the first volunteer.)
- “This person represents the risk of stepping out of your comfort zone.”
- “He (or she) has to stand right here and count to ten slowly (“one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand….”).”
- “When he gets to ten, he can try to tag our first volunteer, the shooter, as long as he is out of his comfort zone.”
- “But if the shooter goes back into his comfort zone, he can’t be tagged there.”
- “However, he still has to make all five shots, either from within the comfort zone if he hasn’t don’t it already or out of his comfort zone if he is brave enough to come out one step.”
- “Do both my volunteers understand how this works?” (Answer any questions they have. Then, let your shooter try to make the shots, stepping no more than one step out of the comfort zone. If the risk person tags the shooter, the shooter can’t shoot anymore shots.)
- “That looked challenging.”
- “But something interesting happens when you step out of your comfort zone.” (Uncoil the rope or garden hose to make it twice as big as it was.)
- “Your comfort zone grows!”
- “Now you feel comfortable going further than you went before.”
- “So, let’s try it again.”
- “Our risk person will count to ten slowly before he tries to tag our shooter.”
- “Our shooter can step one, big step outside of his comfort zone and take five shots without getting tagged.” (Allow them to try this.)
- “It’s getting easier. Let’s do it again!”
- “The comfort zone increases, because our shooter took a step out of it during the last round.” (Uncoil the rope or garden hose another loop or even two (depending on how fast you want to finish the exercise) to make it bigger. Then let the shooter try to make his shots again. If the shooter makes all his shots, you’re done. If he doesn’t, you might want to run the exercise a time or two again. When you are finished, thank and dismiss your volunteers and close with the following comments.)
- “So, you can see how a comfort zone works.”
- “Whenever you take a risk and step out of it, it grows.”
- “The more you do it, the easier it will be to accomplish your goals.”
- “Remember our story about Abraham?”
- “He took a huge risk, but every step out of his comfort zone helped him to grow in his faith in the Lord.”
- “By the time Abraham reached the Promised Land, he had learned to put his complete faith in the Lord.”
- “He needed that faith to help him wait the 25 years for God’s promise of a son to come true.”
- “He would need it again to pass the test of almost offering Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord.”
- “Abraham could never have the faith to do those things if he had stayed in Haran.”
- “If you want to experience God’s greatest blessings, you’ve got to follow Him out of your comfort zone.”
Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, blessing, Challenges, Character, Comfort Zone, courage, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Sarah, test, Trust
40-60 minutes (or more, depending upon how many cultural dimensions you choose to use)
Teens or adults who interact with people of different cultures or are planning to do so
This game illustrates the differences between the many different cultures of the world. It borrows from the research of Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner and the writings of Craig Storti. Facilitators can benefit from having some familiarity with the different cultural dimensions before conducting the game.
The materials contain many more cultural dimensions than you probably want to cover in one game. You can pick out the ones that are most relevant to your group, or you might want to run this game at different times during a multi-day meeting.
The “Cultural Continuums – Answers” file focuses largely on Europe and Asia, because that was the context for the group for which this game was developed. However, additional flags are provided in the “Cultural Continuums – Flags” file, and the full statistics for each continuum are in the Notes section of the PowerPoint slide. You can change the flags with this information.
- Flag cards – one set per team (These are available in the file “Cultural Continuums – Flags” on the Lessons and Downloads page at www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
- Answer key (This can be found in the file “Cultural Continuums – Answers” on the Lessons and Downloads page at www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
- Rolls of masking tape (one per team)
- Print out copies of the flag cards (one copy per team)
- Review the facilitator notes on the Notes section under each slide in the “Cultural Continuums – Answers.”
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “You may remember the story of the Tower of Babel.” (Ask a volunteer to read it out loud from Genesis 11:1-9.)
- “This Scripture is the birthplace of cultural diversity.”
- “Never again would mankind all speak the same language or observe the same cultural practices – at least not until Christ returns, and probably not even then will we give up the cultural practices that make us unique.”
- “So, let’s see how different we’ve become.”
- “We are going to play a game to highlight the many differences among the various cultures of the world.”
- “I will briefly describe a continuum of a cultural dimension. (A continuum is something that goes from one extreme on one end to the other extreme on the other end.)”
- “After I’ve described it, you will take a group of flags (that I’m about to hand you) and stick them to the wall in the order that you think best represents where you think that country falls on the continuum.” (Hand out sets of flag pictures and tape to each group.)
- “Then, I will show you the ‘right answers’ on the screen at the front of the room.”
- “Just so that you know, the ‘right answers’ are based on the work of some cultural experts who have been studying different cultures for many years.”
- “You may not always agree with their findings, and that’s okay. We can talk about it during the debrief.”
- “Sometimes, countries had the same ranking or rating in their studies. In this case, the countries will be shown in the same place on the continuum I show you at the front of the room.”
- “Does anyone have any questions about how the game will work?” (Answer questions.)
- “Okay, let’s play.” (Do as many cultural dimensions as you like. After each one, you might want to ask the group members to explain why they ordered the flags in the way that they did. There will always be at least one country that wasn’t part of the study. You might want to focus on these and ask each group how they made their decision in regard to these countries. When you are done with all the dimensions, have the groups discuss the following questions. (You may want to post them on a flipchart.) Allow 15-20 minutes for discussion, and then debrief as a large group.)
- What do you think about the different cultural dimensions, and where the countries landed on the continuums?
- What was surprising to you?
- Is there anything that you disagreed with? Why?
- What do these differences mean for how we work with people from different cultures?
- What will you personally do differently as a result of what you have learned?